What the heck do I give up for Lent?!

_DSC0965The Catholic in me really enjoys the idea of Lent. Think about all the suffering Jesus went through for each one of us. You know the story. I don’t have to explain it. It’s a brutal one and it’s full of heartache. Deciding what to give up for Lent becomes more serious for me as each year passes. I’m constantly asking myself “What I could I possibly give up or do differently that could amount to what Jesus did for me?”

The answer is nothing. I can’t do anything to match the sacrifice He made, but I’ve learned over there years that I can do things to make myself better for Him.

So Lent…
What do I give up?
What can I do differently?
What if I forget to not eat meat on Fridays?
Or on Ash Wednesday?

I forget to not eat meat a lot actually. Reid and I tried to hold each other accountable last year. Didn’t work. We like steak too much, but this year I will try to be better. Promise.

Ok so…for the sacrifice part…
I’ve decided to give up sugar, well natural sugar doesn’t count, just the yucky processed stuff. I’m literally going to try my best to not eat sugar for 40 days. I’ll constantly have to check myself and make sure I don’t slip up. Oh man, I’m gonna need some help from above for this one.

What I’m going to do…
I’ve decided that I’m going to journal everyday and reflect on something that will better myself. I can reflect on anything important in my life…whether it be the Bible, my relationship with Cody (Hi my love!), my goals, etc. I don’t always consistently journal, the one I’m writing in now was given to me in 2009 when I graduated from Catholic school. Ha! So I’m going to make a point to do this daily. I’m making a vow to not miss one single day until Easter.

And well… meatless Friday’s will still suck. Always do. I remember my mom and I always ate bean burrito’s on Fridays during Lent. Guess I can do that again now that I’m home.

Anyways… Lent is important to me and it always will be. I seriously don’t miss going to Stations of the Cross during school on Fridays though, but I’m thankful I went to a school that allowed me to reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made for me, even if it was really hard being in elementary school and sitting in a pew for two hours.

I realize what I’ve decided to do for Lent may not seem like a lot, but I think it will be good for me. Last year, my good ole friend Lauren Ross gave up sleeping in her bed. It lasted a week, but she tried. In a dorm room her permanent palette on the floor didn’t do anything but get in the way. I think Jesus understands.

And to my fellow Catholics needing ideas for lent… read this… I laughed so hard. It’s geared more towards teens, but still hilarious.

I’ll leave you with that. Have a good evening y’all!

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Simplicity {Wedding Wednesday}

I’m simple. I’m not one for extravagance, and I probably never will be. That’s totally fine and needless to say my wedding will be simple just like me.

The thought of planning a wedding overwhelms almost anyone. I’m not saying it hasn’t bothered me, but I definitely haven’t been stressing about it. The big day means so much more than gorgeous decorations, fancy meals, and perfection. The big day is about a new marriage. A new beginning. A new life. It’s easy for that to fall all the way to the bottom on a bride’s list of priorities, but I plan on making my list a lot different.

I’ll be honest… I haven’t used the Knot, or the Wedding Wire, or anything along those lines. I do have a big five subject notebook with all of the information and ideas for my wedding written down though. There’s no need to make a production of a wedding… the meaning of the day is beautiful in and of itself, and God, along with your loved ones, will think it’s an amazing production if it’s filled with love and purpose.

I’m not saying I don’t want my wedding day to be planned and beautiful, but I’m saying there’s no need to lose sight of the reason you will be standing at the altar that day.

I thought I’d show you guys a few of the decorations I’ve picked out. Hobby Lobby was having a huge sale… so my mom and I took full advantage of that. 🙂

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They had this awesome garter! It came in a set, but I just snapped a photo of one of the keepsake one. Easy, cute and cheap. Perfect.

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We stocked up on tons and tons of burlap that was 50% off. Score.

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I loveeeee Hobby Lobby’s metal letters. I can keep this forever and use it as a household decoration.

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I picked up our initials, too! Maybe I can use them on the bride & groom table?

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Then we hit up the frame sections and bought way too many probably. I’m only posting like three of 25. Ha! None of them are super matchy-matchy and I love that about them.

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And I loved these. They’ll fit in anywhere and I can keep them forever, too!

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Love, love, love this chalkboard! Totally thinking about the whole “pick a seat, not a side” thing. I want this shindig to be as laid back as possible.

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And here’s our guestbook. It’s full of pictures and guests can just sign around them or on the negative spaces on the photos. I was nervous about ordering it, but I love it so much.

Thanks for taking a look! And remember… a wedding is about the man you’re marrying and the relationship you are creating as an example for everyone around you. ❤

Maddie

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From My Journal to Yours

With everything else that’s already going on in my life I decided… “Ok Maddie, maybe you should start journaling, too!” Seriously the best decision ever. It is fun writing this blog because other people can read my thoughts and ideas, but writing in a journal is so much more calming. I can write whatever I want. I can pour my heart out. I can brainstorm ideas for photography sessions. I can reflect on my past. I can prepare for my future. It’s awesome.

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My bff in the whole entire world, Cody Ray, has been journaling his little heart out as well. He has been asking for topics to write about… and I’ve been trying my best to come up with good quality topics for the both of us to reflect on.

A recent topic was to write about five things you like about yourself, as well as five things you need to work on. It seemed like it was both a positive and constructive topic, so I went with it and wrote about these ten things with him.

I’m going to share what I wrote down… and I challenge whoever is reading this to do the same.

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Five things I like about myself…

  • I like that I’m open minded and understanding no matter what situation I’m in.
  • I like that I work hard to get along with everyone.
  • I like that I’m willing to work hard in order to be successful.
  • I like that I love learning.
  • I like that helping people is something that comes naturally to me & I enjoy doing it.

Five things I need to work on…

  • I need to work on saying everything I feel at the right moments & not backing down.
  • I need to work on not getting worked up over small things that are out of my control.
  • I need to work out more consistently.
  • I need to work on not creating anxiety for myself by trying to plan everything out.
  • I need to place my troubles in God’s hands instead of trying to carry them alone.

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So if you’re reading this… I challenge you to take a moment to write these ten things down. Keep them to yourself or share them with the world, but at least take a moment to do it. It might make you feel better like it did for me. We often forget to reflect on ourselves when we get caught up in the craziness of life, but it’s no doubt worth it and great for the mind.

Happy journaling and have a good evening, y’all 🙂

Taking Texas to the East Coast

I would’ve never guessed that my life would be where it is now. Never in a million years.  I would’ve never planned for this. I would’ve never believed you if you told me this a couple of years ago.

BUT… I’m thankful. God had made this plan for me a long time ago. A plan that will shape me and will challenge me to grow. The more you trust the plan the better your life will be and the better you will feel. It’s easy for anxiety to take over, because what’s happening now is not any small change. This is life changing.

Norfolk, Virginia is where my new life will begin. As a full-time wife, a keeper of the house, an undergrad student, a friend and so much more. If your future doesn’t scare you, then your dreams aren’t big enough… a thought I always try to remember when I’m feeling stressed out and wanting to slam on the emergency breaks because it’s safer to stay in Small Town, TX forever. One part of me has always loved adventure. Seeing new places, learning about what those places have to offer, and remembering that no one place is the same. I remind myself there is so much in the world that I would never know about if I never took the chance to adventure. I really like that part of who I am.

As much as this move and these changes will be about Cody and I, a big chunk of it will really be about me. Growth together and separately is important in my opinion. I’ve watched him grow without me so much in the past year, and I know he will respect my independent growth as well.

But together we will be starting a life together and I know it won’t always be sunshine and rainbows. It will go from exciting to disappointing, from happy to sad, and from easy to challenging within seconds, day, months of time. The best part is that I will have my best friend through it all. Someone who makes me laugh and be silly. Someone who is positive about almost any possible situation when I’m struggling to find the glass half full. Someone who keeps me grounded and will eat my food even if he hates it.

On that note…

Cody,

Thank you for being my best friend. For managing to do what you’ve done for me while we’ve been almost a thousand miles apart for quite some time. I know I get frustrated when you have little say, but it’s who you are and I love you that way. Thank you for supporting my dream of finishing school and becoming a teacher. It’s something I’m glad you don’t want me to give up. Thank you for being an idiot and not taking life too seriously when I’m stressing to plan each part of my life perfectly. Oh, and thank you for being handsome 🙂

Night y’all!

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Well, I popped the question!

I always knew I would never be the girl who had ten bridesmaids at my wedding. That’s just kind of crazy if you ask me. Can you really be THAT close to ten girls at once? I know I can’t. I’m honestly surprised I have four that I enjoy being around.

The four girls I picked are awesome and each very different in their own way. I relate to each of them on completely different levels and I’m thankful for that. I picked out these cards to send them and they are so true, because I still have no clue when or where my wedding will be, but having them there will make my day so much better and easier.

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So I’ll tell you more about each of the girls who have supported me through many of my highs and lows.

{Kelsea} My hardworking and kind hearted best friend. I look up to this girl in so many ways. She’s intelligent, tough, and more driven than most of the people I’ve met in my lifetime. Throughout high school and even today, I feel like I relate to her more than anyone else in the whole entire world and she knows all the reasons why. She’s the type of person I would want build a house next to and watch our kids grow up together. I would help her take on the world if she needed me too and I know she would do the same for me.

{Betsy} This girl means so much to me. She has helped me in so many ways. I could never thank her enough for being one of my very best friends and always being there when I need her. She has built me up when I felt I was at my lowest and she has made me laugh until I cried when I needed it the most. She gives so much effort in everything she does, whether it’s softball, friendships, or spending time with her family. She deserves the world and I pray someone gives it to her someday.

{Joyce} One of the very first college friends I made. I don’t think she knew that being my roommate entailed a very emotional Maddie, but how could I have known my plans would unexpectedly change so quickly. She was there for me all the days I moped around because I was missing Cody and all the moments I broke down because I just wanted to move home already. She took care of me when I was sick, she drove me to airport several times to fly to my guy, and she ate tons of Tiff’s Treats with me when I needed to cut loose. She was my rock these past couple of months and I am so thankful.

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And then there’s my maid of honor…

{Katie} She’s the sister I never had. As we started planning this wedding, I realized how I feel connected to her far beyond just being best friends. No matter how long we are apart or how long it’s been since we’ve talked, our relationship never changes. We will always nag at each other like sisters, but I could call her for anything at any hour and she would be there to help me. She listens, she she understands, and she gives great advice. We don’t hang out all the time and we couldn’t be more different, but the things we have seen and done together will always bring us back together. I love the excitement she has for every aspect of life, and without trying she reminds me to always have fun. She has such a helpful heart and the strongest faith. I’m more than proud to call her my maid of honor.

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I’ve only gotten three replies back so far… because Katie hasn’t checked her mail and is gone for the weekend, but the ones I’ve gotten are priceless 🙂

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It’s getting exciting. Just wish I had a date already. Life has been pretty crazy and pretty stressful, but it will all work out. Keeping the faith is important in times like these. And not losing sight of what is really important here. A brand new marriage. Two people growing together as one. Remembering love is what is important.

Most nights I’ve been getting in bed and reading You and Me Forever by Francis Chan & Lisa Chan. Cody gave it to me and I cried because of how thoughtful I thought it was. It says something when a person finds something meaningful and wants you to have it because they think you will appreciate it. Those are my favorite kinds of gestures. It’s been helping me a lot and making me realize that it’s not always sunshine and rainbows and our relationship is meant to glorify God and not just one another.

I also read these 10 Tips for Young Married Couples today. I think they’re are great tips that are worth remembering and practicing daily. The link only takes you to part one, but there are three more after that. Take a look even if you’re not young and married right now. You will probably be married someday and even if you’ve been married for years they pertain to any marriages, not just young ones.

Thanks for reading. Night y’all! 🙂

Brown Sugar Mishaps

Ok so I can cook. Sort of. I can handle following recipes, but no I can’t whip anything together because I have no clue what ingredients go together or are even remotely in the same family. I prefer baking honestly, but you can’t provide the correct sustenance on just sugar and eggs.

I told Cody I would start practicing on my cooking skills before we got married, so tonight that is exactly what I did. We had chicken in the freezer, therefore I pinned every chicken recipe I thought looked good. I found this Brown Sugar and Garlic Chicken recipe that looked pretty tasty.

During my new recipe journey I learned two things:
1. Brown sugar burns quickly.
2. It also bubbles over in the oven.

Crisis averted though. My mom helped me out and it still tasted super good. Yay for a chicken success!

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Next up… I found a yummy recipe for one of my favorite vegetables… GREEN BEANS!
Seriously, they were so good… I was eating them out of the pan while finishing everything else. Bacon, garlic, soy sauce… Ahhhhhh. These were super easy and I could probably eat the whole batch as just a meal. So tempting.

Successfully cooked two things without burning down the house, even though I do need to clean the oven now. Dang bubbly brown sugar. Let’s just focus on these yummy things instead.

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(Hi Cody, hope you like green beans!)

Lastly, my mom showed me how to make her yummy homemade mashed potatoes. I never knew how easy these things were to make. All you need is well boiled potatoes, heaping scoops of butter, a little milk and some salt and pepper. There are no exact measurements because she says it’s really all in how long you beat them. And really the hardest part is your arm getting tired from holding the beaters for so long. I’m serious. #weightroomneeded

All in all, I was pretty worn out after I finished everything and cleaned the kitchen and did most of the dishes and ya know… geesh. I was almost too lazy to pick up my fork, but dinner was yummy nonetheless. I think it’ll be so much more fun when I see Cody’s face change from fear to satisfaction when he realizes my food won’t kill him.

Goodnight y’all!

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Happy New Year!

Fasten your seat belts because this new year is going to bring a lot of change. Change as in a new last name, a new home, a new school and basically a new life. Pretty crazy right? I’m ready for it. I hope. At the moment I’m pretty stress free and easy going about all of it. Besides, the more things change the more they stay the same.

So, yes I did say a new last name, which indeed means that I got engaged (HOLY CRAP!). After almost a full week of being home Cody decided to pop the question on the day before he headed back to Pensacola. Pretty much his usual style.

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I had talked to my mom about photographing us while he was home on leave. When you own a very expensive camera and nice lenses why not enlist your mom to do a photo shoot forCody&Maddie-146 you? It’s free 😉

Cody decided it would be a good time to get down on one knee during the shoot. Thank goodness my mom was in on his secret or she might have had a heart attack and missed every single picture. Once again he proposed at the last moment when I was being super moody and completely over taking pictures because I was sure we had enough. I didn’t know that hanging around for a couple of more shots meant I’d end up with a fiancé and pretty ring on my finger.

Even though we had been talking about getting married for a while I wasn’t sure when Cody would really be ready to take the leap into all the craziness that would follow an engagement. I had my suspicions as to what my Christmas present might be, but I still think I was a little surprised, especially after New Years had passed and nothing had happened.

I am so thankful he trusts me with his future and the rest of his life. God knew exactly what he was doing a year ago when we hung out for the first time. I can’t wait to see what this next year holds for us!

It’s going to be a wild ride. I know this year will be a defining part my who I am and what my life will become. I have a lot I still need to accomplish and I cannot wait to tackle my goals with someone as special as Cody by my side. I am blessed and I think this journey will be exactly what I need. ❤

Cody&Maddie-115*Kuddos to my madre for some awesome pictures. 🙂